If you’re looking for some fun St. Patrick’s Day books to read with your children during the month of March, these are ten of my very favorites, perfect for celebrating all things gold and green.
Whether you want a non-fiction book about this Irish holiday, a fun tale of a tricky little leprechaun or a retelling of a classic folk tale, I hope you’ll find a few titles here that will be perfect!
Pull out your Irish accent (mine is horrendous) and read away!
- Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie dePaola. I love it when beloved authors write appropriate books; it’s so delightful to see familiar illustrations in a new tale. Tomie dePaola’s retelling of a popular folktale recounts lazy Jamie O’Rourke’s dismay when his wife – who does all the work in the house – is injured and Jamie fears they may starve. Fortunately, he happens on a leprechaun and he’s CERTAIN he’ll now be able to provide without doing any work himself.
- Too Many Leprechauns by Stephen Krensky and Dan Andreasen. When Finn O’Finnegan comes home to visit his mother for a quiet holiday, he’s displeased to find that a whole crew of busy leprechauns are keeping the sleepy little village noisy around the clock.Fortunately, Finn is more than a match for those leprechauns. I especially love the spectacular illustrations in this one.
- Clever Tom and the Leprechaun by Linda Shute. This is a retelling of the classic Celtic story “The Field of Boliauns,” where Clever Tom feels certain he can outwit the leprechaun and make off with the gold. But it turns out the leprechaun also has a few tricks up his sleeve and isn’t about to make it easy on Clever Tom. If you love folktales, you’ll especially like the pages at the end all about leprechaun folklore.
- Leprechauns Never Lie by Lorna Bailian and Lecia Balian. This picture book follows Ninny Nanny who won’t do any work. Any work except searching for leprechaun gold. Of course, searching for that gold requires so much time and effort, she’d probably have been better off just doing her chores in the first place. The moral of this story isn’t too heavy-handed, but does give you a nice chance for a teaching moment if you want it.
- There Once Was a Man Named Michael Finnegan by Mary Ann Hoberman and Nadine Bernard Westcott. This illustrated version of the song is perfect for preschoolers and early elementary-aged children and is guaranteed to tickle their funny bones. Plus, I always like my children to be familiar with classic folk songs.
- O’Sullivan Stew by Hudson Talbott. When tax collectors confiscate the local witch’s horse, Kate O’Sullivan’s village starts going hungry, thanks to the furious witch. But feisty Kate isn’t about to let her community starve, so she sets off to recover the horse, which, naturally, lands her in more trouble. Fortunately, her quick wit and storytelling abilities save the day. If you’re looking for a book to read aloud, this is the one you want (especially if you can do it with an Irish brogue!)
- St Patrick’s Day by Gail Gibbons. It took me only a few weeks of being a school librarian to discover that Gail Gibbons is one of the top names in elementary-level non-fiction. This one details the life of St.Patrick, how St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated, and shares six legends about Patrick himself. Pair with one of the fiction books on this list for a perfect match.
- The Leprechaun’s Gold by Pamela Duncan Edwards. When two harpists set off to compete in a musical contest, one of the two tries to sabotage his companion in order to better his chances. But, as happens in most folk tales, cheaters never prosper. I’m a big fan of Henry Cole’s illustration style, and this book is no exception.
- That’s What Leprechauns Do by Eve Bunting and Emily Arnold McCully. A leprechaun’s primary responsibility is hiding gold at the end of the rainbow. But they getting into mischief isn’t too low on their priority list either. This wacky, light-hearted story by one of children’s lit’s most beloved authors will definitely be a hit with your family.
- Tim O’Toole and the Wee Folk by Gerald McDermott. Written by a Caldecott winner, I loved the sly humor in this book, which follows Tim O’Toole who can’t keep his mouth shut about his new possessions, which means he keeps getting tricked out of each subsequent treasure.
And if you have other St. Patrick’s Day picture book recommendations that I’ve missed, I’d love to hear them!
If you liked this list of St. Patrick’s Day books, you might also like these book lists:
- 12 favorite Valentine’s books
- My most loved Easter picture books
- Halloween books you can read all year long